HOUSTON – A baby who had fetal surgery at the Texas Children’s Fetal Center celebrated her first birthday Tuesday.
Lynlee Boemer is meeting all of her milestones, the Texas Children's Hospital said, adding that Lynlee is crawling, pulling up to stand and says several words.
More than a year ago, Lynlee underwent surgery to remove a large tumor, called a sacrococcygeal teratoma, that was growing from her spine.
One of the biggest blessings of sharing the family’s story has been that other women pregnant with babies who have the same diagnosis are reaching out to Margaret Boemer, Lynlee’s mother, on social media, Boemer said.
She is able to give them hope, and often refers other moms to the Texas Children’s Fetal Center, she said.
Lynlee had a checkup appointment Monday, the day before her first birthday, which is when these photos were snapped.
Boemer was 23 weeks and 5 days pregnant with Lynlee when she had emergency fetal surgery to remove the large vascular mass inside the baby. She had learned of the diagnosis around the 16-week mark.
The tumor was robbing Lynlee of her blood supply, and would eventually cause heart failure, experts said. This only happens in 1 in 40,000 pregnancies.
Lynlee had a 50-50 chance of survival, the hospital said.
Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye and a surgical team worked for about five hours to remove the tumor, which was growing from the baby’s tailbone and was almost larger than Lynlee at the time.
During the surgery, Lynlee’s heart stopped and had to be restarted, and she also received a blood transfusion, according to a news release.
Here's how it was done: Surgeons made an incision in Boemer’s uterus and pulled out the baby from her legs to her torso so they could remove the tumor. Once the incision was closed, Lynlee was placed back inside her mother and Boemer’s uterus was sewn shut. Surgeons removed about 90 percent of the tumor, but as Boemer’s pregnancy progressed, the tumor started growing again.
Boemer was 36 weeks along when Lynlee entered the world for the second time, via cesarean section on June 6, 2016. She weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces, the hospital said.
“It was her second birth, basically,” Boemer said in a previous KPRC 2 News interview. “It was a relief to finally see her and see that she had made it through all the difficulty that she had and with her heart … After the open fetal surgery, her heart had time to heal while I was still pregnant with her, so she has no heart issues now and is just doing amazing.”
Lynlee was taken to the neonatal intensive care unit for an evaluation, and then had a second surgery when she was 8 days old to remove the rest of the tumor.
The family, from Lewisville, went home weeks after surgery.
It’s unclear how tailbone issues will affect Lynlee’s development with regard to sitting or being on her back for a long time, but the Boemers said they're willing to work through any complications because they are just so happy she is alive.